Close on the heels of her meet with Chandra Sekhara Rao, the CM of Telangana, who paid a visit on her to announce the likelihood of the formation of a Federal Front, Mamata, earlier this week camped at Delhi, meeting leaders of various opposition parties to forge a common path to take on BJP during the Lok Sabha elections in 2019.
She met NCP leaders Praful Patel, Sharad Pawar, Sanjay Raut from Shiv Sena, Misa Bharati of the RJD and is on her way soon to Chennai to seek the blessings of Karunanidhi, the nonagenarian leader of DMK. She has already met Kanimozhi of the DMK and is in touch with Stalin. Akhilesh Yadav of the Samajwadi Party, the former CM of UP and Arvind Kejriwal had earlier called on her at Kolkata.
Interestingly the critics of PM Modi from within BJP, Shatrugan Sinha and Yashwant Sinha and Arun Shourie too called on Mamata in a brazen violation of their rigid party discipline. Mamata met Sonia Gndhi too, who earlier was icy to the former’s earlier attempts to grab the limelight, which could cloud her son Rahul Gandhi’s rise in the national scenario as the undisputed face and voice of the opposition.
For those, who were laughing away at Mamata’s earlier feeble attempts to galvanise support against BJP, now have begun to take notice of her deft manoeuvres and admit her consistent stand against the government led by Modi. No criticisms or reprimands have come from BJP over the actions of their disgruntled leaders, who have voiced support for Mamata ‘to save the nation from an autocratic leadership,’ revealing an uneasiness in the BJP.
The efforts are not without challenges from the other opposition leaders. Chandrababu Naidu, the CM of Andhra Pradesh is likely to visit Delhi and meet the opposition leaders on a similar parallel project. Though Mamata had welcomed TDP’s snapping their ties with the NDA government, no reciprocity has been extended by Naidu on Mamata’s overtures. Merely opposing and attempting to defeat BJP may not bind parties with opposed philosophies like the left and TMC, or the BSP and SP, despite the latter’s public display of bonhomie.
Can Mamata succeed in tying up an alliance between her party, Congress and the CPI(M) in the coming Panchayat elections, as a forerunner to the next parliamentary elections? What could be the seat share like? I am curious as there could be a revolt from any party with a sizeable mandate to yield space and sacrifice seats to other weaker partners. And then there are leaders like Mulaym from SP, Sharad Pawar from NCP, Naidu, who had not hidden their aspirations to become the PM of this country, not to forget Rahul Gandhi, who, a section of Congress is forever trying hard to present as the PM incumbent. Mamata’s ability to build a consensus is a Herculean task, but it could pose a serious challenge to the invincibility of Modi, if she succeeds in her efforts.
Disappointing on many fronts, from lack of employment creation, Demonetisation, confused implementation of GST, bank scams and now paper leaks, the NDA’s credibility is certainly not what it was in 2014, making the efforts of opposition unity an interesting feature in Indian politics.
The bogey of nationalism cannot be a monopoly of BJP and any elected government must rule as per our constitution. Lastly the question is, can she?